Scientists are concerned about the growing population of the hippopotamus, which was introduced to Colombia in the 1980s by drug lord Pablo Escobar.
In a new study, published in the journal Biological protectionResearchers at Mexican and Colombian universities say they are concerned about hippos, which they consider to be the world’s most invasive animals – threatening their environmental impact and the animal’s human safety.
The study found that hippos from Africa had expanded from their original home and had “invaded” large areas of the Magdalena River basin in Colombia over the past several decades. Their population has also grown exponentially: Researchers believe that Scober’s former pet ancestors are about 80 hippos, up from 35 in 2012.
According to Smithsonian MagazineThe hippopotamus plant burns the growth of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, in the water in which they live, posing a serious threat to humans and other animals as well as the environment itself.
The study also cites past violent encounters between humans and hippos, citing an incident in May 2020 in which a 45-year-old boy was attacked by a hippo in Porto Trincomalee. Was seriously injured.
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As a solution, the researchers suggested that hippos be killed to protect the local ecosystem and prevent long-term adverse effects.
“Our models predict that the worst-case scenario will occur if administrative arrangements are not put into practice: the population will continue to grow positively, with potential environmental and social and economic long-term negative effects,” the study said. As a result.
Researchers also believe that over time, hippopotamus aggression “may become more frequent, thus increasing the chances of death”.
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In the 1980s, Escobar illegally imported several species of exotic animals to Colombia to establish a private zoo in its 7,000-acre bird, Hecinda Naples, in the municipality of Puerto Tranofo. The animals included four hippos, a man and three women from a United States zoo.
After Escobar was killed by Colombian National Police in 1993, authorities seized his farm and private zoo. And while most of Escobar’s exotic animals were relocated, according to the study, the four hippos were left in the wild because they were too difficult to capture.
As the hippo population in Colombia continued to grow for years, the government tried to stop the animals but they were stopped due to local demands and protection from environmental law.